Leader strongly supports Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan agreements

May 25, 2009

TEHRAN - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has expressed his strong support for the trilateral agreements reached between Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The presidents of Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan held a summit meeting in Tehran on Sunday to discuss ways to fight extremism and terrorism, drug smuggling and trafficking, and other regional security problems as well as the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Iran and Pakistan also signed an important gas pipeline deal.
“I strongly support the trilateral agreements, and I am sure that through the efforts and honesty of the three countries’ presidents, the agreements will be fruitful,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday during a post-summit meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The Supreme Leader stated that extremism has not only caused problems for the region’s people and governments but has also afflicted some powers that promoted extremism through their “money and policies”.
He also blamed the U.S. military intervention for the problems in the region, saying the region’s people have intense animosity toward the United States.
The security and progress of Pakistan and Afghanistan are of great significance for Iran, and cooperation between the three countries should not be limited to political and security cooperation, Ayatollah Khamenei added.
During the meeting, Ahmadinejad said he and the two presidents reached significant agreements on regional issues such as extremism, military intervention, terrorism, and drugs.
The Pakistani president said his last meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei in March opened a new chapter in Tehran-Islamabad relations and expressed hope that through cooperation, the three countries will meet the numerous challenges they are facing.
The Afghan president said the Tehran summit provided a great opportunity for the three neighbors to reach new agreements and set new goals.
Three states agree to address root causes of extremism and terrorism
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari both arrived in the Iranian capital with high-level delegations.
At the summit, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan agreed to address the root causes of extremism and terrorism.
According to the joint communiqué, the three neighboring countries agreed to establish a mechanism for holding regular trilateral consultations on special issues, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
These consultations will be attended by senior officials, foreign ministers, and the heads of state or government of the three countries.
The three countries also agreed to increase visits by parliamentary delegations, to promote cultural interactions such as exchanges of scholars, and to foster people-to-people contacts.
The three nations also agreed to strengthen trilateral cooperation to counter the production, smuggling, and trafficking of illicit drugs.
In addition, they agreed to promote trilateral cooperation among relevant institutions of the three countries to counter organized crime activities such as human trafficking, money laundering, and arms smuggling.
In his address to the summit, President Ahmadinejad said extremism, terrorism, and the presence of foreign troops in the region, which has created these problems, are currently the most important issues.
Foreign intervention and extremism, which have been imposed on the region by outsiders, are the main problems, he added.
He went on to say that foreign troops, who are unfamiliar with the local culture, are fuelling terrorism in the region.
“They have been imposed by people who have no close historical or cultural proximity to us… And the foreign troops in the region who came here under the pretext of bringing security have also not succeeded,” he said.
“We welcome the initiative to hold this summit and are confident that trilateral cooperation will guarantee security and increase interaction in the region.”
Ahmadinejad said Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan share a common culture, history, and languages.
“Our region is the cradle of culture and civilization, and the people of this region have had friendly relations and mutually beneficial ties for many many years,” he observed.
And thus, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan should join hands to solve the economic problems of the region, he suggested.
The summit opened one day after Afghanistan made its largest drug seizure in history in an operation that killed 60 militants.
Ahmadinejad also stressed the need to launch effective campaigns against drug traffickers and other criminal gangs operating in the region.
“Today, the three nations are suffering from drug trafficking and human trafficking, which has put pressure on the three countries,” he added.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived on Sunday with a delegation that included Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, the national intelligence chief, his security adviser, and other senior government officials.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and other Pakistani officials arrived in Iran on Saturday evening for the summit.
President Zardari stressed the need for joint efforts and increased cooperation among Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran to combat the menace of terrorism, which he said is hampering development of the region and creating a law and order problem.
Shortly before the trilateral summit began, the Pakistani military launched an offensive to deal with the country’s Taliban militants.
“We have to get together to tackle these challenges. It is not just the matter of our survival, but for the betterment and safety of our future generations,” President Zardari said in his address to the trilateral summit, APP reported
Zardari stated that Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, which are neighbors and share a common culture, history, and traditions, can tackle every challenge and achieve progress by working together.
He also proposed the establishment of a trilateral mechanism for dialogue on development in order to realize the true potential for trade and economic cooperation among the three countries.
Zardari also offered to host the next summit in Islamabad, and the Iranian and Afghan officials accepted the proposal.
Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said the talks were held to create a “mechanism” for regular high-level cooperation between the three states.
Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran, M.B. Abbasi, told Associated Press of Pakistan before the start of the summit, “We are making history, as it is the first time that Iran is being equally integrated with the issues that Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing.”